I believe that everyone should do a RunDisney race at least once. If you can save up your money and plan your vacation around your race it is completely worth it. I have done two Run Disney races.
DisneyLand Star Wars Half Marathon: The Light Side
January of 2016
When I registered, I decided to the do Rebel Challenge which was the 10k on Saturday and the 1/2 Marathon on Sunday. I traveled to California and ran in the Star Wars half marathon with my brother and sister-in-law. We stayed right next to Disneyland and were able to walk to the start line from our hotel. The expo was huge and incredible. Sunglasses, painkillers, apparel, watches, cliff bars, shoes… Anything and everything running related.
The 10k was so much fun. I had to wake up around 4:20 and walked to the start line, the race officially started at 5. I was in corral C so we started around 5:10. I love this distance for a race. There were many places along the route to stop and take pictures. At the start of the race I met a woman about my age, whose husband was also a naval pilot. We ended up running the whole race together and took pictures of each other at the different picture stations. After the race, my brother and sister-in-law went to the ESPN zone (walking distance from the hotel) in Downtown Disney to watch football. After the game I had some friends come in from San Diego and they took me to Disneyland. This was my first time to Disneyland, and I was surprised by how similar Main Street in Disneyland was to the Main Street in Disney World. The castle was much smaller than the castle in Disney World. One thing that was the same was the crowds, the long lines, and the good smelling food.
The 1/2 marathon was very challenging. My legs were already exhausted from running the day before. This was day 2 of waking up at 4:20. Half of the course is outside of Disneyland, but there were hundreds of spectators outside the park. There were probable a dozen marching bands from the local high schools lined up playing different tunes for the runners. There were probably 2 dozen people dressed in Star Wars costumes outside the park as well.
Disney World Star Wars Half Marathon: The Dark Side
I absolutely love Disney World. I have been probably a dozen times, if not more.
We arrived in Florida Friday evening. The Expo was Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. We went to the expo Saturday morning. Again, this expo had anything and everything running related. Unfortunately we got there the last day of the expo, and the most of the official RunDisney apparel was sold out.
After running the 10k and 1/2 marathon in January I injured my knee. After weeks of not being able to run a single mile without being in excruciating pain, I went to the orthopedic. I was told that my IT Band was extremely tight, and that I shouldn’t run for a couple of months. What the doctor did not know was I was already planning on running a little more than a month after our visit. I worked up to 4 miles before leaving for Florida, therefore I was extremely nervous about this race. I told myself that I was going to take it easy and take lots of walking breaks. My only goal was to finish the race.
The race was awesome! I had only two complaints. The first was the bus symptom that the runners had to take to get back to their cars. Since we started in Epcot and finished at the Wide World of Sports we had to be bused back to Epcot… and boy was it a disaster. Not only did it take forever to get on the bus, but our bus driver got lost twice. He finally arrived at Epcot, but he was in an entirely different parking lot than we were started. Everyone was so angry that we all got off the bus and walked to our cars. It was about a 10 minute walk to our cars. I felt bad for the bus driver, but after running 13 miles and sitting in a bus for almost 35 minutes, I was exhausted physically and mentally.
My second complaint was running through a giant parking lot. Yes, I understand that running to each of the different parks meant that there would be lots of running on the main road through Disney. What I didn’t expect was running almost 2.5 miles in the Animal Kingdom parking lot. After looking at the course after the race, I felt that we could have ran the extra 2 miles in both Epcot and Hollywood Studios.
All in all I loved my RunDisney experience. I had both pros and cons about both Disneyland and Disney World, but I loved being able to experience both. I definitely plan on doing another RunDisney race in the future.